KICKOFF 2012: A quick school-by-school glance at the football season

The high school football season begins Friday and ends the first weekend in December with teams playing for state and South Jersey titles.

How will your team do this season?

The Press has divided teams into four categories based on preseason reports.

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Favorite: The teams to beat in the conference and more than capable of winning a state or South Jersey title.

Contender: These teams have the talent and with a break or two could win the conference or even a sectional or state title.

Spoiler: Will be competitive with every team on its schedule. The team no one looks forward to playing.

Rebuilding: Better days are ahead.

Here's this season's breakdown with last year's records in parentheses:

Cape-Atlantic League

American Conference


St. Joseph (10-0): The move to the larger American Conference shouldn't slow the Wildcats.

Hammonton (9-3): Blue Devils coach Pete Lancetta is three wins away from career victory No. 200.


Absegami (5-5): With running backs Tyler Bing and David Hood, the Braves return a lot of talent at the skill positions.

Holy Spirit (8-3): The Spartans are young but have more team speed than last year's group that won the state Non-Public II title.

Egg Harbor Township (4-6): Senior Matt Clayton leads the Eagles at fullback and linebacker.

Mainland Regional (5-5): Kicker Jim Cooper is seven field goals away from breaking the state record of 30.

Millville (11-1): The names might not be as familiar as last year's standouts, but the Thunderbolts return a talented core of players.


Atlantic City (6-4): Opposing defensive coordinators will have sleepless nights trying to slow down the Vikings' skill position players.

Oakcrest (5-5): Falcons have made two straight playoff appearances.

National Conference


Cedar Creek (4-5): This is the Pirates' first season in the Cape-Atlantic League. They played an independent schedule last season.


Vineland (3-7): The Fighting Clan has the largest enrollment in the conference and is 7-1 against CAL National Conference teams the past two seasons.


Buena Regional (2-8): Chiefs will start mostly juniors and, although talented, they could be a year away.

Ocean City (2-8): Red Raiders will try to control the ball behind an offensive line that returns four starters.

St. Augustine Prep (4-6): Former Villanova University assistant Mark Reardon takes over the Hermits.


Bridgeton (6-4): The Bulldogs graduated 21 seniors and will feature mostly sophomores.

Lower Cape May Regional (5-5): Frank Ziegler shifts to quarterback after rushing for more than 700 yards at running back last season.

Middle Township (2-8): Frank Riggitano, who led the Panthers to the playoffs in 1993, returns as coach after stepping down in 2001.

Pleasantville (0-10): The Greyhounds have few seniors but many talented sophomores.

Shore Conference


Barnegat (7-4): Bengals are the defending Shore Conference B South champions.

Southern Regional (8-2): Injuries have forced standout Mike Gesicki to move from wide receiver to quarterback.

Lacey Township (4-6): After last season's sub-.500 record, the 2010 South Jersey Group III champs seem poised to contend again.


Pinelands Regional (0-10): The Wildcats are still young but return just about every player from last year.

West Jersey Football League


Cumberland Regional (4-6): Sophomore running back De'Hahn Milledge rushed for 961 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore last season.

Wildwood (2-8): An easier non-division schedule could translate into more wins for the Warriors.

Michael McGarry

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